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This article shared 8970 times since Wed Jun 25, 2008
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Since coming out to mostly not surprised and very supportive friends and family starting at age 15, Daniel Pohl, 29, has been involved in helping the LGBT community. After unsuccessful attempts to start the Rockford area's first GSA at Harlem High School and to convince Rockford's adult LGBT organization to host a youth group, he went on to be active in UIUC's queer community and, in 1999, co-founded the Coming Out Support Group for students there that endures to this day.

Shortly after graduation, Pohl was hired in October 2001 as an HIV/STD health educator at Howard Brown Health Center, where he continues to work in the field of prevention as manager of Disease Intervention Services. This program was created in partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health as a response to increased rates of syphilis among men who have sex with men, and has evolved into a nationally recognized model of cooperation between a community-based organization and a health department. Day-to-day, he talks primarily with gay or bisexual men to find out if they have syphilis, HIV and/or other STDs and answers questions, gives information and encourages them to tell sexual partners or to allow him to do anonymous partner notification on their behalf. He has participated in technical assistance and cultural competency trainings with numerous health departments and national organizations and has been a contributor to research that highlights the program's successes, as well as its approach to using the internet to locate and inform sexual partners of potential exposure to STDs.

When he's not 'stomping out syphilis,' Pohl enjoys catching up with friends, da Cubs, playing softball (go Elephants!) and spending quality time with Chad, Tussy and Ramen.

DID YOU KNOW? He loves both karaoke and skinny dipping, even though people cringe at both!



Derek Britton is a force to be reckoned with in the LGBT community. His passion to increase awareness of the affect of HIV amongst his peers led him to become a founding member of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) Junior Board. He has served as a leader on the Junior Board's executive committee and social and planning committee since its 2005 inception, and also as vice president and acting president in 2007. Britton has been a contributor to many AFC events including the AIDS Run/Walk, World of Chocolate, and the Junior Board's own Blue Bash and Make a Statement: Design for the Cure. He has also served on the benefit committee of Dance for Life Chicago since 2006.

Britton has also played a hand in LGBT advocacy by co-creating, an organization that creates opportunities for fun, cheeky and stylish ways to give back to LGBT charities of choice. Currently, Campus Pride, PFLAG and The Point Foundation are beneficiaries.

DID YOU KNOW? In the professional world, Britton serves as the director of marketing for Chicago-based travel technology group. He is a graduate of London College of Communication, University of the Arts London and lives in Humboldt Park.



Lisa Katona has always been interested in the intersection between physical health, mental health and social justice. Educated at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, Katona has training and experience working with a variety of LGBTQ-related issues, including individual and family clinical practice, gender issues, sexual health and domestic violence. Her interest in social justice and women's health began at Oberlin College, where she trained her college and community-based peers in women's health issues. In graduate school, Katona not only worked as a domestic violence counselor, but she also assisted the Intersex Society of North America in researching quality care for individuals receiving medical assistance, and was involved in a clinical preceptorship in sexual health through the University of Michigan Hospital.

Since her arrival to Chicago two years ago, she has been working at the Howard Brown Health Center. Initially, Katona worked as a case manager for individuals living with HIV, and is now the newest addition to the Lesbian Community Care Project (LCCP), as the patient navigator for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. Additionally, she is completing a two-year postgraduate fellowship with Live Oak, providing psychotherapy to individuals and families, as well as trainings to organizations and communities.

DID YOU KNOW? She got stuck in a tree in her own backyard, and the fire department had to be called to get her down.



Simon Daniel Fisher, or Simon Strikeback, grew up first in Rogers Park and later in a near northern suburb. He was a queer activist in high school, creating a student support group and working with Better Existence with HIV (BEHIV) as a youth educator. While at DePaul University, he joined Lesbian Avengers, and in 1999, helped revitalize Camp Trans to protest transphobic policies in women-only spaces. Strikeback was a lead organizer with the project until 2005. After living at IDA, a queer rural community for three years, he returned to Chicago and co-created the trans performance duet Actor Slash Model, currently producing a documentary about trans and gender-variant musicians. This fall, Strikeback will begin graduate study in interdisciplinary humanities at the University of Chicago.

Strikeback is currently on tour with Actor Slash Model, gathering interviews for the film and playing shows across the Northeast. At the moment, he is probably trying to fit four people, three cameras, all of their belongings and a seven-foot upright bass into the car.

Other current projects include the zine 'Bound to Struggle: Where Kink and Radical Politics Meet,' which brings together the words and art of a diverse group of practitioners of both kink and radical politics. He also co-curates Threat Level, Chicago's bimonthly queer short film series that raises money for his and other Chicago-based trans-focused documentaries. He also is a core member of the Chicago Childcare Collective that offers free child-care to social justice organizations in the city.

DID YOU KNOW? His new favorite thing to imagine is how to re-create the 1930's phenomena, The Pansy Craze, a sociopolitical movement with a large base in Chicago. He suspects it will involve people of many different genders, booty dancing and a lot of pink.



Hector Salgado is an outreach specialist for Project VIDA, where he has worked since 2003. There, Salgado created an outreach curriculum to increase the number of group participants and formed several collaborate relationships with various organizations to make sure prevention information and materials are provided at their venues. Salgado has also helped create curriculum and facilitated discussions with Project VIDA's youth group on topics such as gay history, HIV and dating violence. Prior to his work at Project VIDA, Salgado took part in Public Allies Chicago's Ally Apprenticeship Program, where he worked at the Greater Chicago Food Depository as their recruitment and retention specialist in the Community Kitchens Program.

Salgado has also served as president of the Latin American Student Organization and president of the Student Government Association at Richard J. Daley college, a college advisor for SERAS youth leadership group in Little Village and vice president of the District Wide Student Government Assocation. He is a member of the University of Illinois in Chicago's PRIDE program and has worked with the Oak Park Gay and Lesbian Association (OPALGA) to help organize the first Latino MSM retreat.

DID YOU KNOW? Salgado is working on his Bachelor's in political science with a minor in Latino studies at UIC, and has volunteered in various voter registration and youth organizing drives.



Tom Kelly has been a resident of Chicago for six years, after spending his first 18 in Stevensville, Mich. The oldest son of Tom and Sheila Kelly, he attended public schools and was very active in the Boy Scouts, earning his Eagle Scout badge. However, it was his interest in politics and public policy that brought him to Chicago, where he attended DePaul University.

While at DePaul University, Kelly was a member of the university's rugby team and DePaul College Democrats, among other activities. During his freshman year, he took Dr. Elizabeth Kelly's course, 'Creating Change: LGBT Politics,' which introduced him to LGBT policy and sparked his interest in LGBT equality issues. Dr. Kelly also encouraged him to take an internship on U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel's 2002 congressional campaign, which began his career in political campaigns.

Shortly after the 2002 congressional race, Kelly took a job with then State Sen. Barack Obama, who had recently announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. After working on the 2004 primary and general election staffs, he continued his work with Obama as an assistant to then political director Dan Shomon. This lasted until September 2005, when he began work as campaign manager for Assessor James M. Houlihan's re-election campaign.

During this time, he was accepted to the University of Oxford for a master's in social policy. While at Oxford, he focused on developing his understanding of gender and public health issues, and became active with both the Democrats Abroad UK and the Oxford University Stop AIDS campaign. In 2007, he graduated from Oxford after completing a thesis titled, 'Understanding the Continental Divide: How do we explain the different developments between the American and Canadian systems for managing health risks.'

In November 2007, Kelly returned to the United States to work on Obama's presidential campaign as a field organizer. Over the past few months, he has organized in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, in addition to drafting a field plan for Equality Illinois and volunteering with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

DID YOU KNOW? Kelly will be leaving the Obama campaign shortly, as he has recently been accepted to Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government to pursue a Master's in public administration.



TyJuan Cratic, 23, born and raised in Chicago, attended John Hope College Prep and De La Salle Institute on the South Side. He started early in his life working for gay issues and a political agenda, lobbying while in high school for SB 101, the Human Rights Amendment in Illinois. This is where he got the first taste of political and legislative work that would benefit people he had never met.

Cratic began his studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, majoring in political science. There, he soon became president of the SIU College Democrats. Appointed to the SIU Student Health Advisory Board, TyJuan, spent three years working to establish domestic-partner benefits for students and university employees. This was achieved in 2005, a great victory for the SIU LGBT community.

Later in 2005, after SIU's Chancellor made condemning comments about homosexuality, he was appointed to represent undergraduate students on the Provost GLBT Ad hoc Committee. As the only undergraduate student on this committee, he found it important to hold the university to the fire to change outdated policies.

Cratic was a part of recommending a change in university policies that blocked same-sex couples as live-in resident hall directors and establishing hate crime reporting after several hate crime situations occurred on campus. One of the recommendations he was truly proud of was paving the way for the SIU GLBT Resource Center.

In 2007, he was elected as the Illinois Federation of Political Affairs' vice president of political affairs, bringing the organization to fight for two political issues in Illinois: civil unions and lowering textbook cost for college students. On April 5, he was elected president. Cratic made civil unions one of the top legislative and political issues of his term, and established a grassroots campaign for four democratic congressional races in Illinois.

DID YOU KNOW? Cratic has taken one year away from SIU before graduation to work at a Chicago law firm.

More honorees at : .

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